In the world of guitar strings, each and every brand has its own strengths and weaknesses; some strings last longer, while others produce a brighter tone or less string noise.
Very few strings possess the ability to excel in every area, yet every now and then, one such product comes along.
For many acoustic players, the John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze set is one such product; between the superior playability, engaging tone, and decent life spans, it’s easy to see why this product is loved by so many players. Read on to learn more about these fantastic strings.
As any player will tell you, the number one most important factor to consider when purchasing strings is the sound quality.
Luckily for owners of the 600Ls, these strings have a fantastic tone.
Like most phosphor bronze strings, the 600L’s are quite warm and mellow in tone, even before the player has had time to break them in.
Furthermore, the tone of the John Pearse 600L’s will remain relatively consistent throughout the lifespan of the strings.
This reliability is quite important for professionals, as it means there will be less of a need to change out strings every couple of performances.
Like any phosphor bronze string, the 600L’s use a wire wrap around the core of the string to enhance the middle and lower ranges of the instrument.
In the 600Ls, this wire wrap consists of 92% copper and 8% zinc.
While this will no doubt allow players to achieve a very desirable tone, it does have the unwanted side effect of leaving black residue on the player’s fingers.
This is because the strings are uncoated, which in fact is part of the reason these strings achieve such a high-quality tone.
No matter how fantastically a string may play, if it can’t stand up to the test of time, it will not be useful to players. Fortunately, the 600Ls pass this test with flying colors.
The long life of the strings may actually be what distinguishes these strings from their competitors the most; even as the strings get older and grimier, the tone remains relatively constant.
Most players find that they can get 2-3 months of constant use out of the 600Ls, which is quite a bit more than your average acoustic strings.
Furthermore, these strings are relatively thick for light gauge strings, which means that while they are still easy to play, they are less likely to snap than many of their competitors.
The stock gauges in a pack of John Pearse 600L’s are 12, 16, 24, 32, 42, and 53.
Experienced players will likely notice this choice of gauge is pretty consistent with most bluegrass and Americana-oriented string brands, and indeed John Pearse is considered one of the strongest brands in bluegrass.
In order to get a fuller sound with a better representation of the low end, some players suggest switching out the bottom two strings with slightly higher gauge alternatives.
This will undoubtedly change the tone of the guitar, but players looking to experiment with slightly heavier tones may find using alternate gauge strings to be to their advantage.
Price and Availability
Perhaps the only downside to the John Pearse 600Ls is their relatively sparse availability.
While professional shops will no doubt carry these popular strings, Guitar Center, Sam Ash, and many of the other big-box music retailers often do not stock these strings.
However, the strings are widely available through the internet, meaning any consumer who wants to can get their hands on these fantastic strings.
In addition to their somewhat spotty availability, John Pearse strings tend to be a bit more expensive.
Typically, one will find these strings retailed for around $10, but don’t be surprised if one can find them for as low as $6 per pack.
The main competition for the 600Ls is likely Elixir, which tends to sell coated strings for similar prices or even slightly cheaper.
However, the 600L’s are widely considered to be the superior string in both tone and durability, and for that reason, many musicians recommend that players spend the extra cash on the better pair of strings.